Change is Coming. Change is Here.
Well this whole series is frustrating and depressing all at once, isn’t it? If I wasn’t 90% sure that was the creative team’s goal, I would have stopped reading by now. So many people are dead, and all we have are two people pointing the finger at each other. And guess what? This issue didn’t do anything to answer any questions at all.
The issue starts with Garth, the former Aquaboy drinking himself to a blackout in a bar rambling about the Teen Titans. Donna Troy arrives and carries him out. While she’s carrying him, they walk past a mural of the original Teen Titans. That was enough to make me sad. Knowing that out of the five originals, they’re the only two left (until Grayson gets his memories back) hurts. We then see a few different scenarios playing out at once. The Sanctuary tapes of Donna Troy speaking about the city of Troy, Batgirl showing the spot where Joker’s bullet severed her spine, Blue Beetle talking about how important it is to have a friend as a hero and Black Canary rolling her eyes and saying “$%@# this” are shown. Batman and Flash are in the field where the first dead heroes were found, while discussing who is to blame. Unfortunately, two of the best detectives the Justice League has disagree on who the culprit is. Flash says that Booster Gold is responsible, while Batman has blamed Harley Quinn for the slaughter. Wonder Woman is interrogating Booster Gold with her lasso, but Booster still says Harley is to blame.
In Metropolis, Superman is with Lois, who has her hands on the therapy tapes of the heroes from Sanctuary. After the tapes were sent to the Daily Planet, Lois was able to get them, although she fears that if she doesn’t release them to the public, someone else will. Elsewhere, Batgirl has tracked down Harley Quinn, and the two end up brawling in a hall of mirrors. After they brawl for a minute, Batgirl stops Harley and tells her that she is on her side, and she wants to help figure out what actually happened at Sanctuary. Unfortunately, one of Batgirl’s best friends, Black Canary, does not share the sentiment. While speaking with Green Arrow, the two of them tell Batman to find Booster Gold and Harley Quinn or “I’ll find them both, blow their heads off and let the afterlife’s greatest detective figure it out.” Knowing how both Arrow and Canary are, this reaction is not a shock at all.
At the Hall of Justice, Booster is visited by his best friend, Blue Beetle. Beetle asks if he was under the lasso’s control to tell the truth, why is he still being treated as a suspect? Booster replies, “Well, Wonder Woman said maybe I just believe I didn’t do it. Like, I’m so messed up, I believe that. And that’s just a sign that I’m messed up enough to do it.” Blue Beetle sympathizes with his friend, then blows the wall up to break Booster out.
Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman convene at the Batcave to discuss the break out, when Superman drops a new bombshell on them. He reveals that Lois has the therapy tapes from Sanctuary, and that he has known for “a few days”. When Batman confronts him about hindering the investigation, Superman refuses to give him the tapes out of respect for his marriage and Lois’ job. Then things get much much worse. Wonder Woman asks, “Clark, when? When is her story on Sanctuary coming?” Superman replies, “Yeah, well, that’s the thing. That’s why I decided to tell you. Now. She sent it 35 seconds ago.” At that moment, Sanctuary is revealed to the world, eliminating any secrecy the heroes had. As Batgirl and Harley keep on the move, Batgirl gets word of what has transpired. She tells Harley that Sanctuary is no longer a secret, and that the world will change because of this. Harley calmly responds that the world needs to change.
One more issue and no more answers, but the mystery keeps getting deeper. Now, we have Blue Beetle with Booster and Batgirl with Harley. It seems inevitable that battle lines are about to be drawn. I completely understand why so many people are done reading this story. This started months ago, and it seems like we are nowhere near an answer as to who killed so many heroes. Not just random throwaway characters either, but loved characters. An argument I’ve seen is that this has all been done for shock, and that the story is doing nothing except making people angry. But isn’t that the point? This all revolves around a mass murder in a place that is supposed to be safe. That’s not playing for shock, that’s real. How many times has there been a mass shooting or bombing that left people dead? People with friends and family are killed for no reason other than they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. While none of us reading are family to these heroes, we are connected to them. Personally, I was beyond angry when Wally West died. At first, I was ready to forget about the whole series. I wanted to know why all these heroes had been slaughtered for no reason at all. Wally was looking for his family, Roy was still dealing with his addiction, Lagoon Boy had nightmares about dying. Their stories can’t end there. But they did (for now). And while people lashed out about that, it hit me. That’s what really happens. The people who die in shootings and attacks have unfinished and incomplete stories. You can call the story out for using shock to attract people, but what you can’t say is that it isn’t relatable. It’s a very sobering real-world issue with superheroes dropped into it. Do I want answers? Yes. Do I Wish these heroes were still alive? Yes. However, that’s the thing with real-life: you don’t always get what you want. So for now, all we can do is keep somberly waiting for our answers.